After going through a challenging debut in the Arizona League last year not many expected for 19…
Infielders in the site's top 30: Henry Rodriguez, Ryan Wright, Neftali Soto, Donald Lutz, Sean Buckley, Seth Mejias-Brean, Travis Mattair, Brodie Greene, Gabriel Rosa, Zachary Vincej
Tanner Rahier was their second round selection last year after a unique prep history. Under the direction of his father, a professional sports performance specialist, he bypassed conventional physical training programs in favor of manual labor tasks. Also, he did not play high school ball after his freshman year, but instead played in a wooden bat league. Many felt the Reds fortunate to get him with the 78th overall selection. He was drafted as a shortstop, but the Reds played him at third base in the Arizona League last year. Though his stat line was unimpressive the nineteen year-old has the physical skills to provide plenty of offense for the position.
23 year-old David Vidal brings good leather to the hot corner and started strong at Bakersfield last season. After a promotion to AA he didn't fare as well against more advance pitching and will give it another shot in the Southern League in 2013. He did finish with eighteen homers and improving contact will be important for his pursuit of advancement.
The Reds acquired Devin Lohman with a third round selection on 2010. He Figures to move into the vacancy in the Pensacola infield left after the departures of Gregorius and Hamilton. He started at second at Bakersfield last season and moved back to shortstop after the latter's promotion. He had a good year offensively with a .353 OB% and provided fourteen homers from middle infield positions. It will be interesting to see if the 23 year-old can maintain that power this year while playing closer to sea level.
The Reds saw something in former Cleveland first-rounder Beau Mills that influenced them to make a midseason deal for him in return for cash. He hit well at Pensacola and the Reds are hopeful that the 26 year-old will become a late-bloomer after putting some nagging injuries behind him. His range in the field limits him to first base and plans to move Donald Lutz to left field will affect his playing time.
Cody Puckett is still hanging around the organization after the Reds used a top ten round pick on him in 2008. He's split time recently between second base and left field. He brings good offense to the middle infield position and his chances for advancement will be hindered if he can't stick there. He struggled offensively in his AAA debut last year after a midseason promotion and the 26 year-old will look to improve upon that at Louisville.
Last year the Reds got a good season from Travis Mattair who they picked up in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft. This year they'll try again with Michael Gilmartin. The 25 year-old shortstop hit .256/.339 in the California League in 2012.
2010 Late-round selection Dominic D'Anna had a nice year at Bakersfield last year and has a .386 on-base pct. over three minor league seasons. The 24 year-old's power has been limited to gaps thus far and his home run frequency isn't high for a first-baseman. Still, there should be a job somewhere for someone who knows the way from the batter's box to first base.
Juan Perez hit .253/.336 in his first full professional season at Dayton last year. He needs to improve consistency at shortstop, but he's still only 21 years old and that performance will likely earn him some action at high-A to start 2013.
Junior Arias's stock dropped in 2012 as he struggled both at the plate and in the field at Dayton. The former Dominican free agent is still only 21 years-old and will look to right the ship this season.
Robert Maddox homered thirteen times in 211 plate appearances last season. Unfortunately that loses a bit of luster when considering he was then 23 years-old and playing in the Pioneer League. Still, hitting homers is a good way to advance and the first baseman will try to continue doing that at Dayton.
21 year-old Brandon Dailey started out slowly at Dayton last year before hitting over .300 at Billings after a demotion. The middle infielder will give the Midwest League another shot in 2013.
The Reds liked Taylor Wrenn so much that they drafted him twice, in 2010 and 2012. (He was also drafted in 2011 by Arizona.) Unfortunately for Wrenn he never went higher than the 25th round. He did had a strong debut at Billings that earned him a cup of coffee at Dayton where the 23 year-old will likely return and compete for playing time at second base for his first full professional season.
Avain Rachal was drafted in the 22nd round last year and debuted in the Arizona League at the age of eighteen. He hit well (.297/.364 OB) and will try to continue that at second base for Billings.
The Reds also drafted Brent Peterson twice and got him with a twelfth round selection last year. He debuted well in the Arizona League, hitting .291/.377 OB while playing mostly at shortstop. Now 20 years old, he figures to join his DP combo-mate Rachal with the Mustangs.
Ty Washington is a late round candidate to stick around for a while. He waited until the 43rd round of 2011 draft before the Reds picked him. That wasn't too late for them to give him a $300,000 signing bonus to forgo a scholarship offer to Oklahoma. He debuted in the Arizona League last year as an eighteen year-old and acquitted himself well in less than 100 plate appearances. The Reds Dominican team had some infielders last season make a case for a move stateside. 3B Yonatan Suero (20 yrs old) started off the season hot before finishing at .274/.369 OB. 2B Miguel Mendez (20) hit .299/.413. IF Rusbel Farinez (21) has a career AVG/OB of .384/.374 over three season in the Venezuelan and Dominican leagues. SS Ronald Bueno (20) lifetime is at .277/.399 over three seasons and played five games in the Arizona League.
Middle infield is an area the Reds may try to address in the upcoming draft. They are deeper in the corners and are counting on Joey Votto to block everyone from the top level at first for a long time. Still, the above list contains some that have a chance to force their way into future plans. Having a high-A team in the California League can be deceiving because what appears to be attractive power for a middle infielder can disappear at Pensacola, ala Brodie Greene last year. They opened up a couple of spots at the higher development levels and would be agreeable to giving them to anyone making a strong enough case, even if at the expense of one of the new veteran arrivals.
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